Immunai, a New York and Tel Aviv-based biotech company, announced its acquisition of Dropprint Genomics, a San Francisco-based single-cell genomics software company. Immunai is also expanding its executive leadership team and scientific advisory board with experts in immunology, single-cell technologies and machine learning. Both the acquisition and new hires will advance the company’s work in single cell functional genomics with the goal of better supporting discovery, prioritization, and development of new therapies and drug combinations.
Dropprint Genomics, a Y Combinator-backed startup, has developed computational infrastructure to conduct single-cell sequencing at scale, developed proprietary methods for cost-effective processing of hundreds of patient samples, and built a large database of immune cells from autoimmune and cancer cohorts. These cells will be incorporated into Immunai’s Annotated Multi-omic Immune Cell Atlas (AMICATM), which is already the world’s largest single cell database. Immunai welcomes the Dropprint team, including co-founders Meena Subramaniam, PhD, and Rachel Gate, PhD, who have joined the Machine Learning and Computational Biology team at Immunai. This team brings deep experience in genomics and bioinformatics from the University of California, San Francisco.
“Dropprint’s team and technology are perfectly aligned with Immunai’s mission,” said Dr. Rachel Gate, CEO and co-founder of Dropprint. “Together, we will work to unlock insights into the functions of the immune system in disease.”
The company has also expanded its leadership team with the following individuals to advance its work in data-driven immune therapies:
- Peter Smibert, PhD, former Director of Technology Innovation at New York Genome Center, is joining Immunai as Vice President of Functional Genomics. Smibert’s lab pioneered the development of single cell multiomics and functional genomics tools, including CITE-seq, ECCITE-seq, and ASAP-seq, which are integral to the ongoing work at Immunai.
- Alexandria Cogdill, MEng, PhD, joins Immunai as Director of Business Development from UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she was a Strategic Industry Ventures Fellow while completing her PhD in immunology with Dr. Jim Allison. In addition to her work in BD and corporate strategy, Dr. Cogdill has published over 50 scientific articles and worked as a researcher and laboratory operations manager with Dr. Steve Rosenberg at the NIH, Dr. Jennifer Wargo at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Carl June at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Adeeb Rahman, PhD, is joining Immunai as Senior Director of Single-Cell Immunology. Rahman, a cellular immunologist, previously served as the Director of Technology Development for the Human Immune Monitoring Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, where he led one of the world’s largest academic service labs offering comprehensive solutions for high-dimensional single-cell characterization.
- Danny Wells, PhD, a Scientific Co-founder of Immunai, is joining as Senior Vice President of Strategic Research. Wells was previously the founding data scientist and head of reverse translational medicine at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. His group there contributed to pioneering discoveries in the mechanisms of response and resistance to cancer immunotherapies published in Nature, Cell, and Nature Medicine.
“We founded Immunai to develop the next generation of immune-powered medicines by coupling single cell immunogenomics with AI,” said Wells. “With the addition of the Dropprint team and Peter, Adeeb, and Alex, our team is super-charged to take on the hardest questions in immunology that will ultimately lead to new therapies for patients with cancer and autoimmune disease. I couldn’t be more excited to join this team full time to build the future of precision immunotherapy.”
Immunai is also building its Scientific Advisory Board with the additions of Michael Kalos, PhD, former Vice President of the Janssen and former CSO of Cancer Immunobiology at Eli Lilly; Jimmie Ye, PhD, Associate Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and Regina Barzilay, PhD, Distinguished Professor for AI and Health and AI Faculty Lead at MIT, and a MacArthur Fellow.
“I’m pleased to work with Immunai’s AI team as they leverage transfer and multi-task learning algorithms to integrate and curate single-cell sequencing data from the immune system, and then mine this data for translational and clinical insights,” said Barzilay.
Immunai is on a mission to reprogram the immune system to advance personalized medicine to better detect, diagnose, and treat disease. The team is composed of genomics, machine learning, bioinformatics, immunology, and software engineering experts and is headquartered in New York City, with offices in San Francisco and Tel Aviv. The company has raised $80M in funding to-date from Viola Ventures, TLV Partners, Schusterman Family Investments, Duquesne Family Office, Catalio Capital Management, and Dexcel Pharma.